Safety at Public Events
The safety of members and visitors is high on the agenda when organising and running observing events. Farnham Astronomical Society has a couple of tips that it would like to share with other societies.
The Farnham Astronomical Society faced a greater than usual challenge at its observing event in Alice Holt Forest, a dark woodland venue a few miles south of Farnham. The vistor car park was situated some distance from the main entrance and visitors were required to approach the telescopes via woodland paths. Through carefull planning and a group of well-organised site marshals the event ran without incident.
Reflective high-visibility vests (the sort that motorists are now required to carry when driving in Europe) are an obvious way to make marshals stand out in the dark. To ensure that its marshals were clearly identifiable to the public Farnham AS purchased a number of vests with the the society’s name printed clearly on the back.
These vests were supplied by the Site Supply Company at a cost of less than £5 each including printing and delivery. This price was based on an order of 15 vests and there was no additional cost for mixing sizes, but it would be worth shopping around on the Internet.
A supply of very cheap LED-based rear cycle lights was found on the internet; these were clipped to vests so that visitors could see marshals from a distance. Thanks to a little ingenuity the intensity of these normally dazzling lights was dimmed using a piece of crumpled tissue paper placed between the LEDs and the outer casing. (These lights could also be strapped to tripod legs and other trip hazzards.)
Photos by Adam Thomas